Roger Hurst Allen was born in Paris, Kentucky, on 31 July 1917, son of J. L. and Marye I. (Adams) Allen. He attended Holmes High School, Covington, Kentucky and the University of Kentucky at Lexington, prior to entering the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, on appointment from his native state in 1937. Graduated and commissioned Ensign on 7 February 1941 (course of instruction reduced to three years and eight months due to the National Emergency, he subsequently advanced in rank, attaining that of Captain, to date from 1 July 1960.
Following graduation from the Naval Academy in 1941, he joined USS Balch and was serving in that destroyer when the United States entered World War II, 8 December 1941. Detached from the vessel in September 1942, he reported the next month as Gunnery Officer on board USS Carmick, and after instruction, June-July 1943 at the Naval Air Station, Dallas, Texas, continued duty in destroyers as Gunnery and Executive Officer on board USS Hailey. While attached to Hailey he participated in operations in the Marshall, Marianas and Western Caroline Islands, and at Leyte, Luzon, Iwo Jima and Okinawa Gunto.
During the period September to December 1945 he was a student at the Naval Mine Warfare School, after which he was in command of Mine Division TWENTY-FIVE and USS Pochard. Under his command that division was engaged in minesweeping operations in Japanese waters. In November 1946 he transferred to command of Mine Division ELEVEN and USS Triumph and in May 1947 was detached for duty as Education and Training Officer at the Naval Disciplinary Barracks, San Pedro, California. He remained there until June 1949, then joined USS Bayfield, to serve as Operations Officer and Navigator. While attached to that attack transport he saw action in Korea during the hostilities there. In July 1951 he assumed command of USS Trathen.
He attended a course in operations analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, from August 1952 until June 1954, after which he joined the Staff of Commander Operational Development Force. In July 1957 he was assigned to the Staff of Commander Battleship-Cruiser Force, Atlantic, and during the period October 1959 to March 1960 had duty on the Staff of the Commander in Chief, US Pacific Fleet. Following service as Operations Analysis Officer and Assistant Chief of Staff for Readiness on the Staff of Commander Anti-Submarine Defense Force, Pacific (later redesignated Anti-Submarine Warfare Force, Pacific), he reported in December 1962 as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations to the Commander Carrier Division SIXTEEN, and in July 1963, he succeeded to Chief of Staff and Aide to Commander Carrier Division SIXTEEN and Hunter Killer Force, US Atlantic Fleet. In August 1964 he was ordered to duty on the Staff of Commander Anti-Submarine Warfare Force, Atlantic Fleet.
Captain Allen had the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two silver stars and one bronze star (eleven engagements); World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp; China Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Service Medal; United Nations Service Medal; and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon.